Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chris Discusses Comicon October 8 & 9, 2011 (Part Two)

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

In Part One, I discussed pretty much anything but the convention. It happens. Today, I really have no choice but to state talking about it. I mean, I guess I could talk about how my “Chris McGinty – Enemy of Debt” feature is coming to an abrupt close, but I should just save that for that column. I have two still sitting in reserve before I can do the “Season Finale.”

If you remember from our May articles, I ended up being very tired the Saturday of the convention. The reason was because I’d asked to be off by midnight from my Friday shift, so I could sleep six or seven hours before the convention. Then I got stuck at work until 5:30 am. This time, I thought it might work out because I was scheduled from 11 pm to 7 am. I figured that if I slept enough before work that I would be ok for the convention. Then two things happened.

The first is that I didn’t sleep enough right before work. I slept mostly when I normally sleep (morning and late afternoon). The second is that I was going to supplement it with a short nap before Nathan arrived to pick me up. I got stuck at work late, so I didn’t get a chance to nap. Nonetheless, I was pretty good for the day.

As Nathan explained in his 1/3 (one of three), he brought two Chris’s with him to this convention. Me and Chris Noble from his work. He had to refer to us by our last names. I can refer to us as Chris and me. He’d already picked up Chris, and then came to get me. I brought with me a cooler of Dr. Pepper and my bag of incidentals (aspirin, toothbrush and toothpaste, phone charger, electrical tape, Gameboy Advance, extra batteries, etc.). I mostly make it home, but not always, and I spend enough time at work that things of those natures are nice to have. And of course, I had my cell phone, but that almost goes without saying in this day and age.

We had a fun trip out to the convention center. An odd point about this trip is that through the wonders of the show, both Chris and I practically knew each other, though this was the first time we met or spoke. He’s a cool guy. I liked him a lot. Chris’s wife is pretty cool too, but she didn’t arrive until later. I hope to get the opportunity to hang out with them again, perhaps at the next convention we attend.

We each put on our “Exhibitor” badges and made our way into the convention and to the seller’s floor. Chris and I helped Nathan get the tables ready, though Nathan had already done most of it the day before. I spoke to the couple who were to our left. They were a nice older couple, and they were selling a self published book. His brother had worked on the design of the Enterprise prop in the original “Star Trek” (I’m not sure if he worked on the specs that were created and shown on one of the episodes). He wrote a book about his brother’s work. I’m not sure what all he discusses in there, but it was a nice looking book. His wife was very nice. I heard her name twice and can’t remember it (cos I’m bad with names). She heard mine once and remembered it.

Speaking of the self published, I did manage to say hi to Paul Black before the floor opened to the public, but I never really got to talk to him. Speaking of the public, the VIPs were let in first. In May, this was deceiving, and when the general public was allowed in, we found the place swamped. This convention, we barely noticed a difference.

The guy to our right was a little frustrated for most of the day. He was supposed to have four helpers for his four tables, but only one showed up. Nathan had two tables and three helpers, though Chris’s wife didn’t make it out there until noon and had their children in tow, but she was still a pretty good help. I think the reason why this is relevant is that Nathan could have technically handled it on his own. It wouldn’t have been optimal, especially if he needed to go to the bathroom, but he could have. The guy with the four tables was selling in very high volume, and probably about 30% of his product was still boxed up by the time we were faced with the public, and he had to slowly unpack it throughout the day.

In May, I stayed pretty close to the table most of the day. I didn’t wander off to see Leonard Nimoy or Carrie Fisher. It was just Nathan and me, and it really seemed like we both needed to be there most of the day. I eventually went around and looked for James O’Barr, creator of “The Crow,” but I didn’t find him. I saw that he was supposed to be there again this weekend. When I realized that we would all have much more freedom to walk around than Nathan and I did in May, given that there was not as many people asking questions of us and buying Nathan’s wares, I decided to go look for James O’Barr. I couldn’t find him again. It was getting pretty odd. How was I unable to find a guy sitting under a sign that said, “James O’Barr?”

I spoke to an Irving police officer, though he wasn’t as cute as the woman I spoke to in May. He stopped by our table and was smitten with our collection of Star Blazers product. I said, “I bet you requested this assignment.” He laughed and said, “I don’t think we’re quite as necessary today as the last one.” I said, “Oh, you were here in May too? Yeah, it was packed that day.” He said, “It’s because Stan Lee was here. He really draws the crowd.” I told Nathan this later, and after he thought about the length of Stan Lee’s line, which was consistently around the corner and into the lobby the whole day, he said that that might really be the case.

Nathan had the Yamato (Star Blazers main ship) in various sizes. At one point, a guy came up and was looking at the mid-size model. He was really considering it. I reminded him that the price was half off the sticker price. He was like, “I know. That’s why I’m really considering it.” I pointed at the big one and said, “Though a true fan would get this one.” He smiled, but I don’t think he thought it was that funny. Later, Nathan sold one to a guy who had to go to the ATM to afford it (it was $75 even half off). Another guy was considering it heavily, and asked if we would be there Sunday. I told him that Nathan would for sure. It’s possible that guy did come back, because Nathan sold the second one on Sunday.

There were three teenagers who kept coming back wanting to buy more. I told Nathan that we needed to call their parents and convince them to wire their college funds.

At some point, while I was manning the tables and Nathan was getting nachos, I saw a guy dressed in “The Crow” makeup. I walked to him, tapped him on his shoulder, and asked him if he knew where James O’Barr was set up. He said that he asked the convention people, and they told him that Mr. O’Barr had cancelled. Hmm. It made me wonder if he had also cancelled in May.

The other points of interest for the day that I can think of now is that I went to see two Q&As; George Takei and Billy Dee Williams. I will discuss those in Part Three on Friday, because each has a full story (the Billy Dee Williams has more of a story).

Like I said, Chris’s wife got out there around noon, and she stayed for the rest of the day. She brought lunch for Chris, so I got to have a couple of extra sandwiches that Nathan’s wife made for us. I actually saved two for work that night. I didn’t eat them at work though. I’ll talk about that tomorrow when I discuss the other weird tradition that is forming around convention weekend, which is a last minute local band show that I feel compelled to go to. The first tradition is me being really tired when I get to the convention.

Speaking of which, I presented six questions at the end of Part One. I’ve answered two. I answered: “Why was I so tired on Saturday… again?” and “Where the hell was James O’Barr… again?” I figure I should answer a third one to split them evenly between this part and Part Three.

What decision have I made regarding all convention weekends going forward? I’ve decided that from here on out, I will ask off Friday and Saturday so that I can function properly, and so that maybe I can break the tradition of being tired, as well as another tradition that is forming, which is not making it out on Sunday.

At the end of Saturday, we covered the product with sheets, and walked out to the cars; Nathan, Chris, Chris’s wife and children, and me. We said our goodbyes to Chris’s wife and children, and Chris rode with me and Nathan so that after he dropped me off at home, he could take Chris to his car. I called Miguel before I laid down for a short nap to see if he would like to go with me on Sunday. He didn’t think he could make it. But that’s probably ok, because I didn’t make it either.

In Part Three, I will discuss all the stuff I said I would get to then, and I will also answer the remaining three questions.

What musical performance was I not expecting to see?

Why did I not make it out there on Sunday… again?

What item did I buy that cost me $1,100?

I’ll see you then, and don’t forget to read more of Nathan’s account (and his accounting) of the weekend.

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